She closed her office door with a huge sigh, relieved to shut out the non-stop facts, figures and chatter that had made up the first half of her day. A high-powered bank VP, she had spent the morning in back-to-back meetings, and finally came to her own office for a breather.
It was 2 pm and though she’d had a meal not long ago, it was during a meeting and she barely remembered what she ate amidst the presentations and social balancing acts. Every day around this time, it was her time. Her chance to regroup, and try to pull herself out of this daily dip in energy.
She sat at her desk and opened her top right drawer. A rush of excitement flushed her limbs as it revealed the one thing that always helped out of her slump: chocolate.
She couldn’t help but reach for it every day even though she told herself to skip some days, she compulsively satisfied her craving anyway. She was trying to lose weight, and always felt guilty afterward and especially on her way home from work.
Heading out to her car, she lectured herself with phrases like, “Why can’t you control yourself?” “You’re never going to make any progress unless you knock it off.” bouncing around in her head. She often committed to resisting tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow.
Can you relate?
We associate a lot of enjoyment and comfort with food. It’s the center of so many social outings, it’s a reward, and it’s an easy way to comfort ourselves or to deal with stress.
Food can be an emotional tool.
We often elevate food to be so much more than what it’s actually supposed to be:
nourishment for our bodies.
Food such as chocolate stimulates our bodies to seemingly meet our emotional needs.
I challenge you to find new ways to give yourselves the stress-easing benefits that food can give you.
How to De-Stress At Work (Without Eating Food)
It’s so important to enjoy your life and deal with what you really need in a healthy way. First listen to your body and understand what it wants.
The below are 10 great ways to de-stress at work, that don’t revolve around food being the answer.
Try 1-2 of these out this week, especially when you need to alleviate stress– which is one of the most common reasons for turning to food.
Look at this like an experiment – try a few things and see what works. When it does
work, do it again and again, so you create a habit in your life.
1) Make A List
Lists are great because they help you focus on what you need to do and organizes them into an achievable, concrete thing. It’s the bouncing around in your head that really overwhelms you.
2) Engage With Your Co-Workers
Ask some of your co-workers how their weekend went and what they got up to, but really engage in a good conversation with them, and pay attention to their answers.
By listening to their stories, imagining the things they did and the places they went, you mentally disconnect from your own train of thought and disengaging helps you to relax.
3) Read a Few Pages of Your Favorite Book
Don’t have time for a chapter during your lunch? Literally read 2 to 5 pages and you’ll find the motion of your eyes spanning the page and the diverting content will sooth your nerves.
Reading is a great way to relax and absorb knowledge at the same time, so take a little break every once in a while to get your head stuck in a book. Check out this awesome book related to the topic we’re currently discussing..
4) Drink Your Coffee Without Sugar or Dairy
Little accents in your day like this can give you a surprising boost in mood and give you something to look forward to that won’t make you feel guilty later.
What makes this even better is drinking your coffee from your favorite mug. It always make things taste a little better than just drinking out of an old washed up office mug, that you find right in the back of the cupboard.
5) Get Outside
Even if it’s just 5 to 15 minutes walking around your building or up the street. Escaping the environment of work changes your perspective and helps you address tasks with new vigor when you get back.
It also get your eyes away from energy draining computer screens, which is incredibly important in keeping energetic and stress free. It’s recommended you take a 5-10 minute break for every hour spent looking at a computer screen, so this will be a perfect opportunity to do just that.
6) Write A Quick Love Note Email
Take a break from looking at all your work emails that keep pouring in, and write a quick love note email to whoever you desire.
Send it to your partner, to a friend or even to yourself. It can just be something as simple as “You’re great.” The positive energy you’ll feel from this outlet of happiness will make you smile.
7) Meditate For 5 Minutes Anywhere You Like
Meditation can be as simple as closing your eyes and breathing deeply. When thoughts try to creep in, just focus on your breathing, maybe even thinking “In. Out” You can get to those thoughts in a bit. This is you time to not think!
8) Drink Some Sparkling Water With Lemon Juice
Grab a cold glass of some unsweetened sparkling water with fresh lemon juice.
Lemon juice is well known as a whole body cleanser, helping your system to eliminate toxins. Its sweet tangi-ness and the cold, fizzy water will undeniably lift your spirits.
9) Plan Something Fun
Plan something fun like a short trip away, an event with your friends, a night out etc.
When you’re looking forward to a break, even if it’s just a weekend getaway, it can help you think longer term. This changes your perspective of the tasks at hand, making them into steps toward achieving your idyllic weekend away.
10) Call A Close Friend
Just taking a few minutes to check in and swap war stories with close friends can really help. Whether you’re cracking each other up or just empathizing with life’s craziness, a short chat can make all the difference.
When you find other ways to give yourself what you really want and need, you’ll find you slim down so much more easily and feel authentically happier from within.
What’s your favorite way of reducing stress at work? Leave a comment below, and don’t say ‘food’!